Phenomenological Approaches to the Anthropological Difference

Project Title: Phenomenological Approaches to the Anthropological Difference

Project Code: PN-II-RU-TE- 2014-4-0630

Contract: 353 / 2015

Principal Investigator: Dr. Cristian Ciocan

Abstract: Our project aims to answer—with the methods of phenomenology—to the new, unprecedented interrogations raised in the contemporary debate regarding the anthropological difference, i.e., the constitutive difference between human and animal on the animal. We wish to put into light the high potentiality of the phenomenological approach for the research field of “animal ethics,” stimulating in this way the interconnection of these two usually divergent ways of approaching the animal life. The main objective is to establish how the phenomenology of animality is able to provide satisfactory answers to the problems formulated within various areas of the animal studies. The project also aims to an integral reconstruction of the problem of animality in the phenomenological tradition (starting from the works of Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Derrida), offering a comprehensive clarification of the problematic frameworks in which this theme appears. What is the ontological structure of an animal being? Does the animal constitute the world and the objects within the world in the same way as humans do? Is it legitimate to understand animality starting from the basic structures of the human existence, namely the ideas such as consciousness and perception, ego and self, identity and alterity, spatiality and temporality? Can we avoid anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism in the philosophical approach of the animal life?

Research Team:

untitledDr. Cristian Ciocan (Principal Investigator) has a PhD from the University of Bucharest (2006) and a PhD from the University of Paris IV – Sorbonne (2009). He is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Bucharest, Center of Excellence in Image Study (CESI), President of the Romanian Society for Phenomenology (founded in 2000), and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Studia Phaenomenologica. He was Post-doctoral Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University “Albert-Ludwig” in Freiburg im Breisgau (2007-2008) and of the New Europe College (2009-2010). He is editor of the Newsletter of Phenomenology, and of the Newsletter of Romanian Philosophy. In 2009, he received the prize In hoc signo vinces for research excellence, awarded by CNCSIS (National University Research Council). Recent works: Heidegger et le problème de la mort: existentialité, authenticité, temporalité (Springer, “Phaenomenologica”, 2014); Lectures de Jean-Luc Marion (Cerf, 2016, in collaboration with Anca Vasiliu); Phénoménologie de la vie animale (Zeta Books, 2016, in collaboration with Florence Burgat). For the publications list, click here.

Christian.Ferencz-FlatzDr. Christian Ferencz-Flatz (Postdoctoral researcher) is the author of three monographs: Obișnuit și neobișnuit în viața de zi cu zi: Fenomenologia situației și critica conceptului de valoare la Martin Heidegger /The Phenomenology of Situation and the Heideggerian Critique of the Concept of Value (Humanitas, Bucharest, 2009), Retro. Amorse pentru o fenomenologie a trecutului / Retro. Rudiments for a Phenomenology of the Past (Humanitas, Bucharest, 2014), and Incursiuni fenomenologice în noul film românesc (Tact, 2015). He has published several articles in international journals such as Continental Philosophy ReviewHusserl Studies, Phänomenologische Forschungen, Zeitschrift für philosophische ForschungTijdschrift voor Filosofie etc. He translated into Romanian several works by Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl,Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. His research interests include: phenomenology, critical theory, the philosophy of history, image- and film theory.

Drd. Alexandru Bejinariu (Doctoral Student) is PhD Candidate at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest. His main interests concern the status of phenomenological discourse and conceptuality in their connections with Greek and Christian traditions, the ABphenomenology of religious life, and the role of embodied experience in the phenomenological investigation. Between June 2014 and September 2015 he was PhD Fellow of the Romanian Academy, Iaşi Branch. He is member of the Center for Phenomenological Studies (CSF), of the Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest and vice-president of “Hestugma” Cultural Association. Other focus areas include: ancient philosophy, philosophy of religion, literary theory, post-structuralism.

poza-a-trepcaDrd. Amalia Trepca (Doctoral Student) is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest. Her main interests are phenomenology, theories of self, aesthetics, critical theory. Her thesis focuses on the transformations of the concepts of subjectivity and self generated by the changing perspectives on the constitution of experience in phenomenology.  She is a member of the Romanian Society of Phenomenology and has been the Society’s Secretary since May 2016.

Project development

January 2016

Phenomenology of animality and film – workshop coordinated by Christian Ferencz-Flatz
  • 12 January 2016 (17h00). Frederick Wiseman: Primates (1974)
  • 19 January 2016 (17h00). Frederick Wiseman: Meat (1976)
  • 25 January 2016 (17h00). Frederick Wiseman: Zoo (1993)
burgat-ciocan-3dFebruary 2016

March 2016

  • Panel entitled Phenomenological Approaches to the Anthropological Difference accepted for the forthcoming Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology: Phenomenology and Beyond


April 2016

May 2016

ciocan-trepca3dJune 2016

  • CfP: Phenomenology of Animality, special issue of Studia Phaenomenologica XVII(2017)
  • Christian Ferencz-Flatz: “Husserl on pets”, at “Phänomenologische Werkstatt”, Husserl Archiv, Universität zu Köln, 14.06.2016

July 2016

  • First article submitted for evaluation to an international peer-review journal (ISI Thomson).

August 2016

  • Second article submitted for evaluation to an international peer-review journal (ISI Thomson).

September 2016

  • Third article submitted for evaluation to an international peer-review journal (ISI Thomson).

October 2016

  • 4 abstracts submitted to international conferences.

November 2016

December 2016

  • First research report submitted.
  • 2 talks accepted for an international conference in Poland.

January 2017

  • Fourth article submitted for evaluation to an international peer-review journal (ISI Thomson).

February 2017

  • Cristian Ciocan,  “Husserl’s Phenomenology of Animality and the Paradoxes of Normality”, Human Studies 40(2) / 2017, 175-190 (Springer, journal indexed in ISI Thomson / Web of Science), doi:10.1007/s10746-017-9419-7.

March 2017

  • Cristian Ciocan, Embodiment and Animality, at the conference: Issues in contemporary phenomenology, 23-26 March 2017, Warsaw, Poland
  • Christian Ferencz-Flatz, Abnormality and perceptual communication. Husserl on animals, children and madmen, at the conference: Issues in contemporary phenomenology, 23-26 March 2017, Warsaw, Poland
  • Christian Ferencz-Flatz, “Humanizing the Animal, Animalizing the Human: Husserl on Pets”, Human Studies 2017, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 217–232 (Springer, journal indexed in ISI Thomson / Web of Science), doi:10.1007/s10746-017-9421-0
  • 1 talk accepted for an international conference in Norway.

April 2017

  • In preparation: Alexandru Bejinariu, Ileana Borțun (ed.), Comunitate – identitate – diferenţă: Priviri fenomenologice. Bucharest: Zeta Books 2017.
  • 1 talk accepted for an international conference in the United Kingdom.
  • Fifth article submitted for evaluation to an international peer-review journal (ISI Thomson).

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017 

  • In preparation: Cristian Ciocan, Amalia Trepca (ed.), Studii de fenomenologie a animalității.

September 2017

  • Sixth article submitted for evaluation to an international peer-review journal (ISI Thomson).


Further publications:

Alexandru Bejinariu. Animal Experience: A Formal-Indicative Approach to Martin Heidegger’s Account of Animality. Human Studies 41.2 (2018): 233-254

Christian Ferencz-Flatz. Abnormality and Perceptual Communication. Husserl on Exchanging Glances with Animals. Tijdschrift voor Filosofie,  80.1 (2018): 73-92, DOI:10.2143/TVF.80.1.3284814

Cristian Ciocan, Amalia Trepca (ed.), Fenomenul „animal“: Abordări fenomenologice ale diferenţei antropologice. Zeta Books, 2018.

Alexandru Bejinariu, Ileana Borțun (ed.): Comunitate – Identitate – Diferență: Priviri fenomenologice, Zeta Books, 2018.

Cristian Ciocan, Bogdan Mincă (ed.), Heidegger și Scrisoarea despre „umanism” – după 70 de ani,  Zeta Books, 2019.

Cristian Ciocan. Embodiment and Animality. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology vol. 50 (2019)